PC: Tommy Martino

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Challenge Accepted

There are 89 days until the Boston Marathon! 89 days – holy buckets. The good news is I got in my first long in run last Sunday, 22 miles, but it rocked my world a bit (meaning I immediately laid horizontal on the couch post run with my furry friends and cat napped). I've also been fighting a cold (second one in a month, I might add… grrrrr) so I think it sent me into extra tiredness and post run lethargy. And this all comes after the previous week which included a half marathon followed by a Treadmill Challenge that I did five days later.

Treadmill Challenge you say   …. What pray tell is that? Well let me tell you! It’s madness, MADNESS! In all honesty, it was fun, (mostly afterward when I was done and sitting down) but it was for a great charity and probably the closest I’ll ever get to being famous/rock star/professional athlete and having people screaming at me and cheering for me.

Feeling goofy in the early stages of the first heat

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 6 men, 6 women & 3 treadmills on a stage
  • 10 minutes per heat
  • 12% grade
  • Each runner runs first heat
  • Top in each heat advance to final + next furthest distance
  • Charity: Youth Homes
  • Sponsored by Adidas,Runners Edge  & Big Sky Brewing Co

I’ve been asked a lot of great questions about the event so I think I’ll just answer them here. (Nerd Alert! interviewing myself)

What was it like running in front of all those people?
Weird, scary, nerve-raking, awkward…. Just to name a few. Now, I’m not one to shy away from being the center of attention (in fact I grew up on stage performing ballet, jazz, tap) but considering this was new, something I knew I wouldn't feel comfortable doing, I was nervous. I think my heart rate was 165 before I even started the first heat. In a race you run by people for a few seconds so you can put on a brave face, but this, there is no hiding when you are racing and not really going anywhere.

Was it loud?
Yes, loud (and really hot.) During Heat 1, I heard specific friends in the crowd cheering for me and I even looked up from the consol a few times. Heat 2 was a massive struggle to say the least. Head down, just tried to finish. I pretty much tuned out (or blacked out) everything. I think the kids are calling it the ‘Pain Cave’ these days…. Well I’m pretty sure I was buried in mine. For the record, the crowd and the announcers were AMAZING! So awesomely loud and enthusiastic. I’m sure the $2 Big Sky beers helped… but it wouldn't have been a successful event at all without them.

 I enjoyed cheering between my heats! 

Did you practice?
Ha, ha, ha… no. (I probably should have!) I was going with the ‘ignorance is bliss motto’ (dumb, dumb, dumb). I have been focusing on getting my weekly mileage up, so I did one minute at 12% about 2 weeks ago after a workout and thought, I better not do this for too long because I’ll talk myself out of it.  

Were you scared you were going to fall off?
Heat 1, no.
Heat 2, about 6 minutes in, hell yes. I felt that little bump at the back of the belt a few times. Luckily, it was quite obvious from my struggling form that I was possibly going down, so a few people stood behind me and next to me to grab me in case I crashed.

My white-knuckled pain cave.

How sore were you the next day?
Surprisingly not sore! I thought for sure my quads would be blow out and my knees would buckle when I got out of bed, but I remained upright and ran an easy 10 the next day.

Will you do it again next year?
If I’m invited and healthy, I’m in. I might even practice and work on that high heart rate threshold I don't often touch as a marathoner. It truly was an honor to share the stage with every runner up there. It’s not every day I get compete against the Canadian record holder in the 10,000M and a US National Mountain Running Champ. Seriously. These women are my heroes.

You can find more pictures from this inaugural event here (Photos by Vo-Tography)

Champions Nicole Hunt and Andy

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Early Season Form

Race Report
Sorry 'Bout That Half Marathon - Polson, MT 1/11/14
1:23:45 (couldn't plan that if I tried!)

I'm 14 weeks out from Boston, so the goal of this race was to attempt to run marathon goal pace if conditions were decent... Which they weren't. (It's January in MT - good conditions need not apply.) So that means run marathon effort. 

First 5K was uphill with a solid 25mph headwind and light rain. Boooo. If there is one thing I hate more than a headwind... It's uphill and into a headwind.  But (silver lining) ... of course, this meant we got a sweet tailwind later which came in a few miles of speedy downhill. Fast. But this was a loop course, so the last 2 miles climbed back to the finish into the headwind again. Luckily, it didn't start raining hard until after I crossed the finish line. 

So terrain and weather held me back a bit from running consistently at goal pace, bit I still got a solid workout and some fast miles. That's the great thing about winter races, there's no PR, no pressure, just effort based racing so finish times aren't as important... And theres a bunch of nutty people suffering through some cold miles together. It's fun! Plus, this was a fundraiser for the Mission Valley Aquatic Center.

Slowest mile: 7:08 (2)

Fastest mile: 5:20 (9)

Strangest moment: Just past mile 4, I passed my first runner. It was then I heard clippity clop, clippity clop, clippity clop. I thought ... 'Is there a horse on the road?' No, couldn't be. But tempted, I turned around and sure enough, there was a big, black horse on the course galloping at me. I said to the guy I just passed, 'There's a horse!' He mumbled back to me between heavy breaths something about 'typical Montana.' The gallop sounds on the pavement were getting louder and the horse flew by us. Guy behind me shouted 'Shit! There's no one on that horse!' The horse made it another hundred yards then stopped perpendicular in the center of the road. Cars traveling the other direction had to stop. The horse then swiveled 90 degrees to face me and started running back the direction from which he appeared. I panicked and moved as far over to one side of the road as I could. The horse ran past me again and his horseshoe clomps faded. So weird. Because this was such a small race, I don't think any other participants saw the horse. I talked to my mile 4 guy after the race and we had a good 'WTF' laugh about the whole thing. 

Here's what the cats were doing while I was running in the cold. Wylie sleeps in a drawer.

Next up: Thursday Night Adidas sponsored Runners Edge Treadmill Challenge
10 minutes @ 12% against some of western Montana's speediest and strongest women. My goal is to not get last place!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Attempts for a New Years Resolution(s)

So today is January 9. I am always late! I meant to start a blog last summer.... life (and laziness/procrastination) got in the way. So here I am, a week into 2014 and I'm only now getting my thoughts down. Figures.

2012 was an awesome year. I mean awesome! I pledged a life long love to my best friend in front of friends and family who traveled far and wide to see us, had a sweet bachelorette party with my best girlies, won two marathons and PRd in pretty much every distance I raced. 2013 was going to have a tough time competing with it's predecessor. With such highlights as two (yes two) trips to the Big Island, Hawaii and a big marathon PR of 2:44, I really don't have much to complain about for 2013. But ... there is room for improvement. So here we go 2014.

#1 - Quit Being 5 minutes Late 
No matter how much time I leave my self to get ready, or plan to leave, I just can't be on time.  It's always 5 minutes, I swear! But it's really rude and I want to change this. I am always rushing  (and driving like a maniac), which leads me to number two. 

#2 - No More Speeding Tickets
I vow to drive the speed limit (or realistically, only 5 above!) I got a ticket driving to work the day after x-mas from MT HP. Anger! This is not my first speeding ticket. And since I don't want to be paying out the ass in auto insurance, it is in my best interest to make this one happens.

#3 - Be Nicer to My Customers
This falls under the be a better person category that I'm sure many people use in their yearly resolutions. Well, I need to be more specific than that if I truly want to make an improvement. Being in sales (at my job for eight years now!) and being 'on' as they say, has become more difficult. I will take more deep breaths and smile more. Customer first. 

Now for the fun stuff - some 2014 Running Goals!
#1 PR in the marathon by more than 2 minutes (if I do that, #2 is automatic)
#2 Qualify for the 'B' standard for the 2016 Marathon Olympic Trials (Location TBD)
That's it - just 2 goals that are mutually exclusive. 

Deep breath... here goes... Cheers to 2014!